Morning everyone, just to let you know that the Over Awards are shaping up nicely, but we could use a few more votes to keep out all of Blimpy’s nominations for Put a Donk On It…
If anyone else wants to put forward nominations for album/book/film/disappointment/anything-at-all of the year, then get it to me on firstname.lastname@example.org by the turn of the years tomorrow night.
Blackout Crew at number one? Seriously, you have been warned.
Happy New Year.
Freddie Hubbard, one of the great trumpeters of the 1960s, has just died, and so I need to modify my list of musicians whose passing this year meant the most to me. Hubbard, I think, was one of the best examples of the brilliant sideman. His solo records were, even at their best, no more than quite good, but his contributions to the projects of others could be outstanding. Herewith extracts from Fee Fi Fo Fum on Wayne Shorter’s Speak No Evil (1964), Eye of the Hurricane on Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage (1965) and the lovely Stolen Moments on Oliver Nelson’s The Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961).
I was looking at Casiotone for the Painfully Alone’s Myspace page and found these, which Isaac and I like a lot. Doesn’t the White Corolla video look like the same animator as My First Crush? Is it?
My musical 2008 has been defined as much by live music as by albums – I’ve attended more than twice as many gigs as I’ve bought 2008 albums – anyway, here are some of my highlights (and low points) of this year for me.
Most hard-rocking gig by a newish band
Cardiff’s finest, The Reasoning, when they blew the roof off the Limelight Club in Crewe. I’ve seen this band six times this year, and they’ve never disappointed. This one was the best of the six. This band may not be on people’s radar screens yet, but they ought to be. One of their songs is on the #2s playlist.
Most hard-rocking gig by a bunch of grizzled veterans
The mighty Uriah Heep at Manchester Academy 2. They were good the last couple of times I’ve seen them playing greatest hits sets. This time they took the gamble of playing their new album “Wake the Sleeper” in it’s entirety, which might have flopped if the album hadn’t been up to scratch. But with an excellent album, it turned into a triumph.
Most emotionally moving gig
This has to be Breathing Space at Mansfield. This was about two weeks after the death of singer Olivia Sparnenn’s father Howard from a brain tumour. The whole show was intensely moving, especially the final encore of the Mostly Autumn song “The Gap is Too Wide”. Not long after this I lost my temper with a Guardian journalist who insisted that “Amy Winehouse is an icon because she can articulate pain and heartbreak in her songs”. He just doesn’t get it.
Most totally bonkers gig
Has to be The Mars Volta at Manchester Apollo. A three hour set, no support, no interval, and they played right up to the curfew without going off and coming back for an encore. And the whole thing was one continuous jam. Despite owning all four of their studio albums, I recognised very little of what they actually played. It was intense, complex and very, very loud. Even after nine months I’m still not quite sure what to make of it.
Worst performance by a so-called classic artist.
Andy Fairweather-Low at the Cambridge Rock Festival. “I’m a great sixties icon – you have to bow down and worship me”. Reminded me of The Kinks at the 1981 Reading Festival in 1981, and not in a good way. Tedious set of 50s and 60s covers, made no attempt to connect with the audience, and gave me the impression he was was playing for the benefit of Radio Caroline rather than the people in the hall.
The gig that didn’t actually happen
Panic Room at the Peel where the power failed, and we didn’t get any music apart from 20 minutes of the support band. Fortunately I did get to see the excellent Panic Room a further three times, and there’s a rematch of the cancelled gig on January 31st next year – see you there?
So what are your live highlights, or low points of the year?
Inspired by the news that Blur are to reunite, I thought I’d share this titillating titbit with you all (actually, I just wanted to get another post in before the end of the year). As any of the 115 (have you nothing better to do with your time??) people who’ve taken a peek at my profile will know, I am 3rd from the left on the second row.
Now, folks, get your magnifying glasses out and scan along the third row to the middle, where at about 9th from the left you will discover none other then Mr. David Rowntree, later to go on and drum with aforementioned Britpoppers. Rather embarassingly, seeing as I make my money selling CDs and am supposed to know a wee bit about what’s happening in the world of commercial entertainment, I never realised this until a school reunion a couple of years ago. (No, Mr. R. did not attend – probably had to fly his private jet over the Virgin Islands to keep the engine(s) ticking over – but there was a Lot of Talk…)
Anyways, now I’m up and posting, I’d just like to say a huge THANK YOU! to everyone who’s ever posted on here, because I’ve loved just about everything I’ve ever encountered. Having served the kids their Christmas dinner from my sick bed, I’m now looking forward to trying out my new headphones (thank you Santa!) on the Festive ‘Spill, FP’s Christmas playlist, and finally finally finally getting to hear the podcasts.
Happy New Year to us all!